A humbling experience.
That’s the best way Madden Johnson can put it.
The Mattoon High School boys golf team missed qualifying for the IHSA Class 2A State Championships by three strokes last season. With the team’s top-3 golfers returning, Johnson said that it has been something the team has thought about as the team begins to prepare for the fall season.
“A little bit especially because we were three strokes away from making it,” said Johnson. “But I think not making it humbled us to work even harder this year and make sure we make it this year.”
Johnson will have plenty of support to push him this season. Johnson is coming off of a freshman season that saw him make the state tournament as a freshman, while he also won the Apollo Conference medalist honors. Fortunately, the Green Wave return the two defending champions as senior Stewart Druin won medalist honors in 2020.
Combine that with incoming senior Blaine Powers, who qualified for the state tournament last year, it could be a carousel at the top for the top golfer on the team.
“It’s fun competing with Stewart and Blaine,” said Johnson. “They are two very good golfers and in practice last year we were all battling to win our mini competitions coach would have us play. It’s fun competing with them and then it’s even better that we are all on the same team.”
Johnson said that the team is deep overall and believes that the Green Wave will always be a contender for winning tournaments all season long.
“I believe our team can win as many tournaments as we want,” said Johnson. “We have everyone coming back from last year and we know that when we play our best. There are not many teams that can beat us.”
Individually speaking, Johnson said that he has spent a lot of the summer working on his short game. He said that he wants to defend his Apollo medalist honors and be playing his best golf when the calendar turns towards postseason time.
“Last year I felt I lost a lot of strokes around the green so just polishing up my short game was definitely the most important thing I’ve been working on to prepare for this upcoming season,” said Johnson. “My personal goals for this year is to compete my hardest in our regular season than when the post-season comes definitely getting all apollo and competing to defend my all apollo medalist. I want to place in the top 10 in regionals and sectionals and qualify for state again. As a team, hopefully, we can win the Apollo and qualify for state.”